POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/29

Indiana Democrats Return to Work

The Democratic walkout that shut down the Indiana House for five weeks is over, theIndianapolis Star reports.

Democrats were last on the House floor on Feb. 21 and have been in Urbana, Illinois ever since to prevent a quorum and consideration of Republican legislation that they believed was an assault on labor unions and public education.

Obama Defends Limited Action in Libya

In a speech to the nation, President Obama “said that the military operations in Libya have succeeded in averting a humanitarian catastrophe, but he pledged that the United States would continue to scale back its involvement in the conflict over the coming days,” the New York Times reports.

Some reactions:

David Brody: “It seems that President Obama just delivered his ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech but has the mission been accomplished? While the President says America’s work is not complete, he made it very clear that the goals in Libya have been met and now it’s time to let the World take the lead.”

Andrew Sullivan: “The major objection – what happens now? – was not answered affirmatively by the president. It was answered negatively: there would be no military effort at regime change, as in Iraq; NATO, not the US, would soon be leading the mission; and, er, it may last a while. It is way too soon to celebrate a new model of international cooperation; but it seems striking to me that the rationale Obama invoked was very much GHW Bush in Kuwait rather than GW Bush in Iraq. That left Saddam in power for more than a decade. And yet Obama spoke as if Qaddafi’s days were obviously numbered. I sure hope they are.”

See more…

Trump’s “Birth Certificate” Not Official

The “birth certificate” Donald Trump released earlier today to show how easy it was to produce “is not an official New York City birth certificate, but rather a document generated by Jamaica Hospital, where Trump’s mother Mary reportedly gave birth in June 1946,” the Smoking Gun reports.

“Official birth certificates are issued (and maintained) by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Vital Records.”

Ben Smith: “Trump’s mother, it should be noted, was born in Scotland, which is not part of the United States. His plane is registered in the Bahamas, also a foreign country. This fact pattern — along with the wave of new questions surrounding what he claims is a birth certificate — raises serious questions about his eligibility to serve as President of the United States.”

Top GOP Contenders Become More Unpopular

Public Policy Polling finds that over the last two years the “leading quartet” of Republicans running for president have all become more unpopular. Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich have all seen their favorability spread fall by margins ranging from 15 to 23 points.

Said pollster Tom Jensen: “The fact that the more Americans are exposed to them, the less they like them certainly does not bode well for their competitiveness next year.”

 

Ten Commandments Judge Eyes Iowa

Judge Roy Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court chief justice removed from office over the Ten Commandments monument he erected outside the state courthouse, is about to jump into the presidential election in Iowa, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Moore’s entry in Iowa will only intensify the feverish competition among GOP hopefuls for the state’s large bloc of evangelical voters. Unlike in 2008, when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and then-Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback built their campaigns largely on appeals to social conservatives, no fewer than five contenders look set this time to try to win social conservatives.”

Trump Releases Birth Certificate

Donald Trump, who has been making television appearances calling for President Obama to release his official birth documents, released his birth certificate toNewsmax.

Said Trump: “It took me one hour to get my birth certificate. It’s inconceivable that after four years of questioning, the President still hasn’t produced his birth certificate. I’m just asking President Obama to show the public his birth certificate. Why’s he making an issue out of this?”

Political consultant Roger Stone emails Ben Smith: “Personally I think it is brilliant. It’s base building. It gives voice to a concern shared by many on the right.”

Waiting in the Closet

Scott Powers, the Orlando Sentinel reporter who was asked to wait in a closet at an event for Vice President Biden, writes about how his story was blown out of proportion.

“Take a couple details of information, toss them into the Internet and it can become like a child’s game of telephone — with each rendition adding spin and details. Only in this politically-charged environment, those spin and details can crystallize toward scandal. That’s especially true when it involves the vice president of the United States in an administration that has enraged a segment of American society.”

Americans Evenly Divided on Budget Showdown

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds Americans split on which party they back in federal budget negotiations this week: 46% say they prefer President Obama’s approach, with 45% saying they prefer congressional Republicans’ approach.

Obama Warns Nervous Reporter

The Washington Post notes that a Miami television reporter recently invited to the White House was so nervous when her interview with President Obama was over that she stood to leave before removing the wired microphone from her lapel.

Obama called out to stop her. “We don’t want a wardrobe malfunction,” he said.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Slavery was the primary, central, cause of secession. The Civil War was necessary to bring about the abolition of slavery. Abolishing slavery was morally imperative and necessary, and it’s regrettable that it took the Civil War to do it. But it did.”

— Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), in an interview with Politico, which noted “for a Republican governor of Mississippi to say what most Americans consider obvious truth is news. Big news.”

Best Filibuster Ever

From Filibustering: A Political History of Obstruction in the House and Senate:

“In January 1923, the Democratic minority in the Rhode Island Senate began a low-intensity filibuster against all major legislation in an effort to force the Republican majority to call for a new constitutional convention. They were aided by a Democratic Lieutenant Governor presiding over the Senate, Felix Toupin, who refused to recognize any Republicans seeking to make motions, except a motion to call for a convention. This conflict reached a peak in June, 1924 when the Rhode Island Senate stayed in continuous session for 22 hours until the Republican majority simply got up and left. Three days later they returned for a 42-hour day-and-night session which began with a mass fistfight over control of the gavel and ended when Republican operatives placed a poison-soaked rag behind Toupin to gas him out of the presiding officer’s chair. No one was permanently harmed, but the Republican majority relocated to Rutland, Massachusetts for six months until Republican victories in the 1924 elections put an end to the struggle.”

Karl Kurtz has more color from a New York Times excerpt at the time.

Do Republicans Have an Iowa Problem?

Steve Kornacki watched last weekend’s cattle call in Iowa and sees warning signs for the Republican Party.

“The lead-off contest for its next presidential nomination — an event that has played a vital role in winnowing GOP fields since 1980 — will be utterly dominated by voters with ravenous appetites for attacks on gays, Muslims, President Obama’s ‘otherness’ and godless liberalism in general.”

Trump Keeps Doubting Obama Citizenship

In an interview on Fox and Friends, Donald Trump continues to question whether President Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States.

Said Trump: “They give you a certificate of live birth which anybody can get. Just walk into the hospital. This guy either has a birth certificate or he doesn’t. I didn’t think it was such a big deal, but I will tell you, it is turning out to be a very big deal. People are calling me from all over saying please don’t give up on this issue. If you weren’t born in this country, you cannot be President. You have no doctors that remember, you have no nurses — this is the President of the United States — that remember. Why can’t he produce a birth certificate? I brought it up just routinely, and all of a sudden, a lot of facts are emerging and I’m starting to wonder myself whether he was born in this country?”

He also doubted Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s (D) claim that he remembers when President Obama was born.

Trump: “I doubt it. I think this guy should be investigated. He remembers when Obama was born, give me a break. He is just trying to do something for his party.”

See more…

Nearly Everyone Has an Opinion on Walker

A new We Ask America poll in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) with an upside down approval rate, 44% to 55%.

“The most startling numbers are the extraordinarily low percentage of people who are uncertain or have no opinion… And the low percentage of those with no opinion on Walker indicate an electorate that is refreshingly engaged in the political doings in Wisconsin, although Walker may feel caught in the crossfire.”

Obama Picks Campaign Headquarters

The Obama 2012 national headquarters will be in a Chicago skyscraper “whose south front faces Grant Park, where President Obama held his 2008 election night victory rally,” the Chicago Sun Times reports.

How Ferraro Exhausted the Media

Brad Phillips looks at the late Geraldine Ferraro’s other legacy: The crisis communications tactic of the marathon press conference, in which a public figure attempts to quell a controversy by effectively exhausting the press.

“That marathon press conference — unparalleled in modern presidential campaigns — was ostensibly intended to quell the public storm through full disclosure. But it accomplished at least three other critical things: it helped reverse the narrative that she was not transparent, it turned her into a more sympathetic figure, and it offered Ms. Ferraro a vital opportunity to show her mettle as a female candidate who could endure the intensity of the media’s scrutiny.”

Quote of the Day

“There just aren’t many people who can say they might run… and be taken seriously, and I can do that.”

— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by the Louisville Courier-Journal, on a possible presidential bid.

Budget Showdown Looms on Capitol Hill

“The White House and Democratic lawmakers, with less than two weeks left to avoid a government shutdown, are assembling a proposal for roughly $20 billion in additional spending cuts that could soon be offered to Republicans,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“That would come on top of $10 billion in cuts that Congress has already enacted and would represent a deeper reduction than the Obama administration and Senate Democrats had offered previously in negotiations. But it isn’t clear that would be enough to satisfy Republicans, who initially sought $61 billion in spending cuts and face pressure from tea-party activists not to compromise.”

Ezra Klein notes that “if you just keep your eye on the policy, Republicans are moving towards a win far beyond anything the House leadership had initially imagined.”

Obama (Finally) Makes His Case for Libya Intervention

“When President Obama addresses the nation tonight at 7:30 pm ET on the situation in Libya, he’ll have yet another opportunity to explain why the United States should be intervening in that country’s civil war, especially when the U.S. is involved in two other wars and when U.S. unemployment remains so high,” First Read notes.

Here is what he’ll say: “One, he’ll announce that the one-week campaign (to establish a no-fly zone and to immobilize the Khaddafy’s army) has worked. Indeed, due to the Western airstrikes, rebel forces have the momentum and are now at the doorstep of Khaddafy’s home town. Two, the president will stress that the U.S. has handed over command and control to NATO. A senior administration official confirmed to NBC’s Courtney Kube yesterday that NATO has agreed to take over the mission to protect Libya’s civilian population. And three, he’ll discuss the lives that the campaign has saved.”

“Despite all the criticism the Obama White House has received on Libya — and much of it has been pure politics (see: Gingrich, Newt) — the policy appears to have worked, at least for now. But what the administration has struggled with is the messaging.”

Pawlenty Picks Fundraising Team

Tim Pawlenty “will unveil a 16-person fundraising team today, as he prepares for the gargantuan task of raising the tens of millions of dollars he’ll likely need to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination,” the Washington Post reports.

“The scope of the finance team — there are individuals tasked to specific states like Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida and Texas, as well as regions like the mid-Atlantic and Midwest — suggests Pawlenty is well aware of the need to grow beyond the relatively small sums he raised during his two campaigns for governor of Minnesota.”

David Drucker: “Nobody hires like this unlss explore phase is mere formality.”

Bachmann’s Opening

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who fired up a crowd of Iowa social conservatives over the weekend, is once again proving that “the Hawkeye State embraces long-shot candidates who have grassroots appeal — regardless of the way the establishment sees them,” according to Politico.

“Few cared, or were even aware, that she’s been dinged in the national press for hergaffes — most voters were impressed by her message and her charisma, two qualities that will dominate for a wide swath of caucus-goers as they sift through their options… And while it’s one event at the start of a long slog toward the caucuses next year…it was a reminder of how much room there is for a tea party-backed Bachmann, or another outsider, to catch fire if Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee choose not to run.”

Reminder: Four years ago then-Sen. Barack Obama was in Iowa proving the same lesson against the Democratic establishment.

Huntsman Campaign Gears Up

Mike Allen reports that Horizon PAC, “run by people preparing a presidential campaign-in-waiting for Jon Huntsman, U.S. ambassador to China, has grown to 12 people, plus five outside firms, and plans to ramp up its activity in the coming month, even before Huntsman’s resignation takes effect on April 30. The PAC plans donations to local and statewide candidates, plus personnel announcements in early primary and caucus states. At Lowe’s Hotel in New Orleans two weekends ago, 18 Huntsman allies met for two days to sharpen their message and divvy up assignments – finance, research, field, communications and new media.”

“The campaign-in-waiting is being masterminded from Texas by John Weaver, who helped make Sen. John McCain a household name, and is a strategist known for winning outside the conventional playbook.”

The AP notes the campaign “is revved and ready, a turn-key operation if there ever was one, with high-powered political strategists and big-time fundraisers who are more than eager to make a splash in the 2012 Republican presidential race as early as mid-May.”

Gingrich Says Nation Becoming Godless

Newt Gingrich “warned that America is headed toward becoming a godless society unless voters take a stand against President Obama and liberal-minded college professors and likeminded media pushing his agenda,” the San Antonio News-Express reports.

He also “called for a return to historic, Christian roots he said were critical to protecting the nation’s freedoms.”

Said Gingrich: “There’s a desperation with which our elites are trying to create amnesia so that we literally have generations who have no idea what it means to be an American.”

No Second Chance for Giuliani

Former New Hampshire GOP chair Fergus Cullen warns potential presidential candidates that Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign four years ago is “a lesson to all future candidates in what not to do.”

“In the course of the last campaign, during which I was state Republican Party chairman, I must have met Rudy Giuliani a half-dozen times. But for Giuliani, it was always the first time; he gave no indication of recognizing me. Getting to know individual voters was unimportant.”

“Most of us know the experience of having had a bad first date. Usually both participants recognize it didn’t work out, but sometimes the guy doesn’t get the message, calls again, and needs to be told bluntly: Sorry, Rudy. You had your chance, and much as we respect your resume, we’re just not interested in going out again.”

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